Hamlin Favored Sunday; Larson Tops Futures

In many respects, one NASCAR Cup Series season simply bleeds into another. This year, though, marks a new beginning for NASCAR’s premier series, The top drivers are the same – their cars, however, are completely different. Here, we look at odds for the 2022 Daytona 500, which is set for Sunday.

What this means for the sports market remains to be seen.

Sunday’s running of the Great American Race (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox) is the first points race utilizing the Next Gen car. Teams still have some say in a car’s chassis setup and are responsible for supplying the engine, but the chassis and bodies come from suppliers instead of being built in-house.

The changes are designed to control costs while increasing competition. After a hefty initial financial outlay to build new cars, maintaining should be cheaper. That makes it easier for new owners to enter the sport.

And with teams unable to build cars from scratch, it should eliminate many of the “tricks of the trade” that gave high-spending teams like Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing an on-track advantage.

But due to the aerodynamic and engine restrictions designed to keep cars from lifting off the track at Daytona – where speeds would otherwise top 200 mph – the racing is expected to be largely unchanged. Hence some familiar names top the oddsboards.

Denny Hamlin Daytona 500 Favorite

With three Daytona 500 wins on his resume, it’s no surprise that Denny Hamlin is favored, sitting between +750 to +900 odds at DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars, BetRivers, and FanDuel. Hamlin is a master at working the draft, and he knows when to lay back to protect his equipment and when to work the draft to get to the front.

With NASCAR’s recent youth movement, there are only six previous winners in the field, including Hamlin. He’s joined by Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, and Michael McDowell.

McDowell’s win a year ago perfectly exemplifies how the rules package at Daytona equalizes the field giving unheralded drives a chance to shine. Multicar wrecks are commonplace, so luck and ability go hand-in-hand at Daytona.

Daytona 500 Odds

Sportsbook DraftKings BetMGM Caesars BetRivers FanDuel
Denny Hamlin +850 +750 +900 +900 +900
Chase Elliott +1000 +1000 +1000 +1100 +1200
Kyle Larson +1100 +1000 +1000 +1100 +1200
Joey Logano +1200 +1200 +1100 +1200 +1300
Ryan Blaney +1200 +1200 +1200 +1200 +1200
William Byron +1500 +1400 +1300 +1600 +1700
Kyle Busch +1500 +1500 +1600 +1600 +1900
Brad Keselowski +1600 +1600 +1600 +1800 +1700
Kurt Busch +1700 +1800 +1700 +1600 +1900
Kevin Harvick +1800 +1800 +2000 +2000 +1700
Alex Bowman +1800 +1800 +2000 +2000 +2100
Austin Dillon +1800 +1800 +2500 +2500 +2000
Martin Truex Jr. +2000 +2000 +2000 +2500 +2000
Bubba Wallace +2000 +2000 +1600 +1600 +1900

While Hamlin is favored, the next six drivers all come from powerhouse teams as well. Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson (Hendrick), Logano and Ryan Blaney (Team Penske), and William Byron (Hendrick) follow Hamlin in the eyes of oddsmakers.

But due to the changes to the car, and the unpredictable nature of racing at Daytona, sharp bettors are taking a cautious approach, NASCAR.com reports.

If you’re looking for a longshot – and believe lightning can strike twice – McDowell is available anywhere from +4000 to +6600. If you don’t find great odds at him on one sportsbook, be sure to shop around.

McDowell’s odds may be too high for your liking, so check out Dillon, whose odds top out at +2500 at Caesars and BetRivers. Another driver to consider is Bubba Wallace, who runs well at Daytona and earned his first Cup Series win at Talladega last year. Wallace is +2000 as of this writing at DraftKings and BetMGM.

Kyle Larson Favored To Repeat NASCAR Cup Series Title

People knew Kyle Larson would win races when he joined Hendrick Motorsports for the 2021 campaign. Few, though, saw him winning 10 points races, the annual All-Star Race, and the Cup Series championship in his first year in the No. 5 Chevrolet.

Larson, however, did all that and often made it look far easier than it actually was. The question now is how quickly he, and Hendrick Motorsports, adapt to the new car. Given their collective track record, oddsmakers have installed Larson as the title favorite, followed by teammate Chase Elliott. William Byron, another Hendrick driver, has the fourth-best odds.

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin (third), Martin Truex Jr. (fifth), and Kyle Busch (sixth) are also among the favorites. Larson, Elliott, Truex, and Busch have titles to their credit, while Hamlin is the winningest active driver without a championship.

Odds To Win 2022 NASCAR Cup Championship

Sportsbook DraftKings BetMGM Caesars BetRivers FanDuel
Denny Hamlin +850 +750 +900 +900 +900
Chase Elliott +1000 +1000 +1000 +1100 +1200
Kyle Larson +1100 +1000 +1000 +1100 +1200
Joey Logano +1200 +1200 +1100 +1200 +1300
Ryan Blaney +1200 +1200 +1200 +1200 +1200
William Byron +1500 +1400 +1300 +1600 +1700
Kyle Busch +1500 +1500 +1600 +1600 +1900
Brad Keselowski +1600 +1600 +1600 +1800 +1700
Kurt Busch +1700 +1800 +1700 +1600 +1900
Kevin Harvick +1800 +1800 +2000 +2000 +1700
Alex Bowman +1800 +1800 +2000 +2000 +2100
Austin Dillon +1800 +1800 +2500 +2500 +2000
Martin Truex Jr. +2000 +2000 +2000 +2500 +2000
Bubba Wallace +2000 +2000 +1600 +1600 +1900

If you’re thinking of placing a futures bet on Larson, just know that no driver has repeated as champion since Jimmie Johnson won five consecutive titles from 2006-10. With the playoff format that was implemented in 2014, the season champion is decided amongst four drivers at the season’s final race.

The playoff format has made repeating even more difficult as one bad pit stop can keep the year’s most dominant driver from winning the title. Think of it as the racing equivalent of the New York Giants winning the Super Bowl by denying the New England Patriots an undefeated season.

Kyle Busch had a subpar season last year, which is why he may be a bargain at +950 at DraftKings. Joey Logano may also be a good value play at +1600 at Caesars.

Ed Salmons, vice president of risk management at SuperBook USA, thinks some bettors may wait a few races to see how drivers adapt to the Next Gen cars before placing futures bets.

“It’s pretty quiet in that market,” Salmons told NASCAR.com. ‘The best way I could sum it up is I think the public needs to see some of the new cars and the new teams first before they’re willing to bet it.”  

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Michael Perry

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